Discovering Audiobooks

As if it wasn’t enough to continual debate between ebooks and paper books, I now have audiobooks to add as a third contender. I discovered them a little bit accidentally. Last fall I joined a book club. One of the members is an audiobook enthusiast. It opened my mind up to the idea a little bit.

Coincidentally, the first book we selected to read (Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer) was very popular. I put a hold on every format available to ensure I could finish it before our first meeting. The ebook was available first. I finished it with only hours to spare on the loan. Immediately following, the audio version became free at the library. There were a few chapters I wanted to review again, so I checked it out. Despite my hesitation to try audiobooks, I quite enjoyed listening to the author read her own book.

Since then, I’ve listened to several audiobooks, for various reasons. Usually it’s because the library doesn’t have an electronic version (my preference) or the wait is too long for the paper version. Or sometimes the audiobook is the only version available! Though not my preference, I am enjoying a lot of things about the audiobook experience.

  1. I can listen while I’m doing other things. This is both a benefit and a detriment. It’s great listening to a story as I commute to work, cook, or fold laundry. But I also find I’m slightly less engaged and don’t retain details as well.
  2. It puts me to sleep as easily as reading does. I use an app called Libby, which allows me to set a timer for how long to listen before it shuts off automatically. Typically I fall asleep so quickly (within 10 – 15 minutes of listening, or less) that I end up having to rewind the story slightly the next day, but it’s not a big deal.
  3. It’s fun listening to an author read their own story, or a skilled actor who can add dimension to characters with different voices and accents.

Overall, I still prefer ebooks and paper books to the audiobooks. Besides, I have several podcasts I enjoy listening to and there’s only so much “ear-time” available in a day. But I’ll definitely add audiobooks to the mix once in a while. Good to discover a new option.

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